October 26, 2021
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10 Face Masks We Actually Like to Wear

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  • PHOTOGRAPH: PEDRO RANCES MATTEY/GETTY IMAGESShould You Double-Mask?Are 2 Masks Better Than One?More transmissible Covid-19 variants are now circulating around the globe. However, we’re still working with the same toolbox to slow the spread, so it’s time to up your social-distancing game. Double-masking is one way to do that.ASTM International, a technical standards organization, and the National Personal Protective Laboratory will soon be releasing standards on which consumer face masks are the most effective. In the meantime, though, you should double-mask if doing so would improve the fit or thickness of the mask you already own—for example, if you only have two-layer masks or if your disposable surgical mask has side gaps that a well-fitting cloth mask would pin down. Check our guide to double-masking for tips on how to do so safely
  • Image may contain Text and LabelPHOTOGRAPH: SAFE-MATEGet a Disposable MaskDisposable 3-Ply Face Masks (50 Pack)The CDC’s findings on double-masking apply only if the first mask is a surgical medical mask, so you’ll probably want to get your hands on some of these. Happily, we have a huge supply because my partner is an essential worker and wears only this type of mask. Disposable masks do a great job at blocking respiratory droplets, and they’re also the lightest and most affordable masks I’ve tried. They may get soaked by sweat and vapor, but at least you won’t have to wash them afterward.This 50-Pack of Disposable Masks for $9 ($21 off) at Amazon is also good.
  • $15 $10 AT AMAZON$35 AT WALMART
  • Image may contain Human Person Doctor Clothing and ApparelPHOTOGRAPH: KITSBOWThe Best Double MaskKitsbow Wake Protech Reusable Face MaskI spent a lot of time experimenting with which mask to pull over a disposable mask in a crowded, indoor, public place. The purpose of the second, cloth mask is to improve the fit and security of the first mask. For me, that rules out double-masking with two masks with ear loops, since that’s uncomfortable and makes both masks more likely to slip off.If I wear a second mask, I like it to use a different strap system than my first mask. It also needs structure to it, with a nose wire to close any gaps on your face. My favorite mask to double-mask with is Kitsbow’s, which was designed in collaboration with Wake Forest Baptist Health. It’s one of the heavier masks I’ve tried, but I don’t mind that as much in the winter. It offers masks in six sizes, along with options for removable inserts and merino wool.$30 AT KITSBOW

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  • PHOTOGRAPH: LULULEMONOur Favorite MaskLululemon Double Strap MaskI don’t double-mask outside, because I have the ability to go running or walking in places where there are very few people. So when I do go out, I usually wear this mask from Lululemon. I like the soft, stretchy straps, which make it comfortable to wear around my neck and easy to pull on and off (and over a beanie) when I see people coming up the trail. Since it doesn’t have ear loops, I don’t accidentally knock my headphones out of my ears, either. It’s made from Lululemon’s signature soft Ultralu fabric, so it’s stretchy and silky against your face. It flutters in and out of stock, so check the website for updates.
  • PHOTOGRAPH: OUTDOOR RESEARCH A Good Mask for WorkoutsOutdoor Research Adrenaline Sports Face Mask KitIf I’m running or hiking, I like light, breathable, synthetic masks. However, they do flap in and out as I breathe hard. For some people, that sensation of fabric flapping against your face can be a distraction. Outdoor Research’s Adrenaline Sports Mask has a structured shape that holds the mask off your face. It’s made from a lightweight mesh material and comes with adjustable ear loops, and a clip that turns the ear loops into a head strap.Two caveats: Although it has two layers, the mesh material doesn’t pass the light test, so you’ll need to use the included disposable filters with the mask. Also, because it holds the mask off your face, the whole thing looks pretty big and conspicuous on your face.$29 AT OUTDOOR RESEARCH$29 AT NORDSTROM
  • PHOTOGRAPH: SENGTOR LTDA KN95 MaskSengtor Ltd KN95 Disposable Masks (60-Pack)In an ideal world, we’d all receive a fresh supply of government-issued, medical-grade N95s every week. Unfortunately, those are still in short supply. The CDC’s guidance is still to leave N95s for health care workers and medical professionals. But many other countries are making high-quality masks more available to their citizens, so we’d be remiss if we didn’t tell you that more-effective KN95s and FFP2s are available online. These acronyms denote foreign manufacturing standards, but they usually indicate masks of similar efficacy to an N95. Just make sure you don’t get a fake one. You can check whether a mask manufacturer has gotten an Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, and the CDC also has a few tips on how to spot a counterfeit face mask.$80 AT AMAZON
  • Image may contain AdapterPHOTOGRAPH: CON.STRUCTBest Cheap MaskCon.Struct Cotton Pleated Mask 6-PackThe Con.Struct cotton face masks are shockingly durable and well made, considering the price. This men’s clothing store sells its masks in six-packs on Amazon, and the price per mask is around $4. These one-sized masks fit my medium face well, and the ear loops have adjustable bungees. The light, pleated cotton is breathable and passes the light test. They have a moldable nose wire and a pocket for an adjustable filter.$25 AT AMAZON$25 AT NORDSTROM

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  • Image may contain Accessories Accessory Wallet Handbag and BagPHOTOGRAPH: OLD NAVYBest Kids MaskOld Navy Variety 5-Pack MasksI have two young kids, 3 and 5 years old, who are big enough to wear masks in public. We’ve tried several varieties, including ones from Etsy and Vistaprint, but so far the clear winners are the affordable Old Navy masks, which are made from 100 percent cotton. Synthetic masks, like the Vistaprint, get soaked by kid drool within seconds.The masks fit both my kids’ faces perfectly. They like the playful prints, and they also prefer pleated masks, which stretch as they talk. (Constantly! They talk constantly.) However, a mask that fits a 5-year-old probably won’t work for an 8- or 9-year-old. Tom Bihn, Kitsbow, and Rickshaw Bags are just a few of the companies that are making masks in small sizes.Read our guide to kids face masks for more picks.$13 AT OLD NAVY
  • Image may contain Clothing Apparel and PantsPHOTOGRAPH: ELISA CARUCCIBest Mask for RainMarta Scarampi Greta Waterproof MaskI live in rainy Portland, Oregon, and I spend a lot of time outside. There are few sensations that are more unpleasant than pulling a cold, wet mask over your face while on a hike. Marta Scarampi is an Italian fashion designer, and her waterproof face masks are made from Econyl, a recycled nylon fabric made from harvested ocean plastic and other waste. They also have been treated with a water-repellent coating. They will repel water, but they’re also pretty heavy. I recommend these for heavy rain—for light drizzle, you may as well stick to a lighter mask made from synthetic wicking material.$29 AT MARTA SCARAMPI
  • Image may contain Clothing Apparel Bonnet Hat Cap and Baseball CapPHOTOGRAPH: TOM BIHNA Sturdy Cloth MaskTom Bihn V4 Cotton Flannel Reusable Face MaskTom Bihn masks have stayed at the top of our list for a long time, but the ear loops are just too hard for me to wear over a disposable mask. I also find its latest version, a six-layer mask, to be more bulky and uncomfortable than it’s worth. Still, its two-layer masks have held up to almost a year of washing and line-drying, and the fit is still secure, with an adjustable nose wire, adjustable ear loops, and a neck strap so I can carry it around my neck when I walk away from people. There’s some evidence that cotton with visible fibers may be one of the most effective materials at slowing the spread of coronavirus.Since it’s flannel, it’s a little warmer than some of the other masks we’ve tried. But I’m happy to report it doubles as a cozy face warmer now that the temperature has dropped. The masks are also handmade in Seattle, and for every mask you buy, Tom Bihn donates one to a local charity. You can track those donations in a public spreadsheet.$16 AT TOM BIHN

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1 comment

doverto loperte October 23, 2021 at 11:25 pm

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